Home » REVIEWS » PS3 REVIEWS » Resident Evil: Code Veronica X – Expanded Review

Resident Evil: Code Veronica X – Expanded Review

Resident Evil: Code Veronica X – Expanded Review

Our next issue of Play, which goes on sale 27 October, has a small review on Resident Evil: Code Veronica X. So owing to the fact that the internet has an infinite amount of room, here’s an expanded review!

Here’s a theory to think about. Survival-horror games were scary because they were so very, very flawed. The limited saving, the inventory restrictions and those notorious turn-on-the-spot controls that would prompt us to wheel out the old ‘you turn like an oil tanker!’ cliche if only we’d ever actually seen one turn. All those elements and more contributed to a real feeling of vulnerability that kept the atmosphere razor-sharp with tension and

Resident Evil: Code Veronica X HD is a throwback to that era of survival horror, before Capcom plonked the camera behind your shoulder for Resident Evil 4 and the genre followed in its wake towards an action tilt. There are tropes in Code Veronica X which were accepted at the time yet seem awkward and convoluted now. Examples: You can’t drop any items from your inventory, even if it’s full. You can only save a certain amount of times using a certain item (ink ribbon) at a certain place (typewriter). You have to press a button to climb stairs. The list goes on.

Likewise, while the HD treatment works wonder on some aspects of the game – look how shiny the inventory screen is! – it can’t disguise the stilted CG cutscenes nor does it do anything to take attention away from the awful voice acting. Gaming has taken huge strides in both departments since then and these are areas where backward steps don’t feel nostalgic but awkward and almost embarrassing, as you’re watching gaming trying to find its feet in new territory.

We’re being kind by not mentioning the script as well.

Yet in the same way Code Veronica X is dated by some of its mechanics, others ensure it remains unique and tense, even if it’s not as scary as it used to be. The zombies don’t have to run at you because your pistol is slow and weak enough that even their languid shuffling can be a threat. Ammunition is limited, so each encounter has you concerned for your ever dwindling supply of resources as well as your health. The sparse piano tinkles, the slow opening of doors, the glacial pace, everything builds towards a creepy atmosphere that runs contrary to the action-first slant of the survival horror genre seen nowadays.

Still, those who have played Resident Evil: Code Veronica X before already knew whether they’d be buying this or not.

For newcomers, recommending Resident Evil: Code Veronica X HD is tough, just because the conventions of the survival horror genre circa 2000 means this retro throwback demands a lot of investment – not just financially but your time as well, as you struggle to get to grips with the controls, the cliches and the painfully slow pace at which the game unfolds.

Looking back, Resident Evil: Code Veronica X is something of a historical milestone, representing the peak of the genre before Capcom turned it on its head with Resident Evil 4 in 2005. As it stands – the HD gloss won’t be quite enough to cover up the archaic mechanics for those who never dipped their toe in the survival horror waters back in 2000 but stands as a nice, if expensive, refresher course for everyone else. It’s unlikely survival horror games will ever play like this again, so at least we can look back at them in HD now.